(National Sentinel) Foreign Policy: Calling Venezuela “a mess” full of “craziness” as the South American nation descends further into chaos following a sham seating of a ‘national legislature’ aimed at shoring up President Nicolas Maduro’s one-man rule, President Donald J. Trump on Saturday intimated that the U.S. may consider “military” options to restore order.
As reported by Reuters:
Venezuela has appeared to slide toward a more volatile stage of unrest in recent days, with anti-government forces looting weapons from a military base after a new legislative body usurped the authority of the opposition-controlled congress.
“The people are suffering and they are dying. We have many options for Venezuela including a possible military option if necessary,” Trump told reporters in an impromptu question and answer session.
The comments appeared to shock Caracas, with Venezuela’s Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino calling the threat “an act of craziness.”
The White House said Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro requested a phone call with Trump on Friday, which the White House appeared to spurn, saying in a statement that Trump would gladly speak to Venezuela’s leader when democracy was restored in that country.
As further noted by The Wall Street Journal:
Mr. Trump said a military option is possible in Venezuela, though he provided few details, while the president also stepped up his warnings to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as he spoke at a press conference at his golf course in Bedminster, N.J., on Friday.
“I’m not going to rule out a military option,” Mr. Trump told reporters when asked about the situation in the South American country. “Venezuela is a mess.”
“We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary,” he said.
The remarks came a day after President Nicolás Maduro said in a speech to the newly formed constituent assembly that he wanted to speak with Mr. Trump by phone or meet him when he visits the U.S. next month for the United Nations General Assembly. “If he is so interested in Venezuela, here I am,” Mr. Maduro said Thursday. “Mr. Donald Trump, here is my hand.”
Clearly, the move by Maduros in seating a ‘congress’ with like-minded ideologues was nothing but a move designed to help him consolidate his power and therefore double down on the same Marxist-socialist policies that have plunged his once-prosperous, oil-rich nation.
But we’re not sure that rises to the level of a national security threat to the U.S.
The White House, in a statement, correctly noted that Venezuela was slipping toward “dictatorship,” adding: “The United States stands with the people of Venezuela in the face of their continued oppression by the Maduro regime. President Trump will gladly speak with the leader of Venezuela as soon as democracy is restored in that country.”
And Trump does have at least some support for U.S. military intervention in Venezuela.
“This government has ruined us, has destroyed this country. I don’t see this [military] option as bad as long as this government goes,” said Angelica Azuaje, an architect from a Caracas suburb of Los Teques, in an interview with the WSJ.
Most Americans, however, are likely unaware of the growing social, economic and political crises in Venezuela and are probably surprised to hear the president even talk of military intervention there, especially given the growing crisis with North Korea.
“This is made to order for Maduro,” said David Smilde, a specialist on Latin America and Venezuela at Tulane University. “Domestically, this will lead to 24/7 state media coverage. It could lead to heightened state of alert in the military and perhaps more repression of the opposition. All of these things are under way, but it provides an even more conducive environment for it.”
And of course, #nevertrump RINOs in Congress were quick to use the opportunity to lash out at the president.
“Congress obviously isn’t authorizing war in Venezuela,” said Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., said in a statement. “Nicolas Maduro is a horrible human being, but Congress doesn’t vote to spill Nebraskans’ blood based on who the Executive lashes out at today.”
Polls in the country show less than 10% of Venezuelans support a military solution to the country’s crisis, the WSJ noted.
This sounds more like Trump falling into the trap of answering a reporter’s question honestly (“Does the U.S. have a military option for Venezuela?” “Yes, we have a military option for everything.”) than it does an actual foreign policy goal of the administration.
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